Spurs' Kawhi Leonard wins 2014-2015 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

April 23, 2015

As the Spurs' core grows older, Kawhi Leonard is gradually becoming the offensive go-to guy in San Antonio, but this week it was Leonard's continued development as a defensive stopper that was recognized by the league, as he was named the 2014-15 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.  He becomes the first Spurs player to win the award since David Robinson in 1991-92.

The 6-7 Leonard became only the sixth forward to lead the NBA in steals per game since the league started tracking the statistic 42 years ago.  He averaged career highs of 2.31 steals and 5.9 defensive rebounds to help anchor a Spurs defense that held opponents under 100 points per game (97.0) for the 20th consecutive season.

Defensively, Leonard is an active player who will rebound outside of his area.  As such, he is an above-average rebounder for his position.  In addition, he is a quality on-ball defender capable of guarding multiple positions effectively.

According to NBA.com/Stats, San Antonio ranked third in the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 99.6 points per 100 possessions. The Spurs gave up only 97.1 points per 100 possessions when Leonard was on the court, a defensive rating that would have led the league over the entire season. When Leonard was off the court, though, San Antonio permitted 102.2 points per 100 possessions, a league-average defensive rating

Leonard garnered 37 first-place votes and 333 total points from a panel of 129 journalists. He edged the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who tallied 45 first-place votes and 317 points. The Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan finished third with 261 points (32 first-place votes).
Other players receiving votes were: Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Andrew Bogut, Tony Allen, Tim Duncan, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jimmy Butler, Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah, LeBron James, Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, DeMarre Carroll, Nerlens Noel, Chris Paul, and Hassan Whiteside.

Below is the list of all-time winners:

Season         Winner, Team
1982-83        Sidney Moncrief, Milwaukee
1983-84        Sidney Moncrief, Milwaukee
1984-85        Mark Eaton, Utah
1985-86        Alvin Robertson, San Antonio
1986-87        Michael Cooper, L.A. Lakers
1987-88        Michael Jordan, Chicago
1988-89        Mark Eaton, Utah
1989-90        Dennis Rodman, Detroit
1990-91        Dennis Rodman, Detroit
1991-92        David Robinson, San Antonio
1992-93        Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1993-94        Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1994-95        Dikembe Mutombo, Denver
1995-96        Gary Payton, Seattle
1996-97        Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta
1997-98        Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta
1998-99        Alonzo Mourning, Miami
1999-00        Alonzo Mourning, Miami
2000-01        Dikembe Mutombo, Philadelphia
2001-02        Ben Wallace, Detroit
2002-03        Ben Wallace, Detroit
2003-04        Ron Artest, Indiana
2004-05        Ben Wallace, Detroit
2005-06        Ben Wallace, Detroit
2006-07        Marcus Camby, Denver
2007-08        Kevin Garnett, Boston
2008-09        Dwight Howard, Orlando
2009-10        Dwight Howard, Orlando
2010-11        Dwight Howard, Orlando
2011-12        Tyson Chandler, New York
2012-13        Marc Gasol, Memphis
2013-14        Joakim Noah, Chicago
2014-15        Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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